This Will Only Hurt For A Minute

September 1st, 2010

I spent a lot of hours in doctor’s offices the past few weeks – and not once did it have to do with being sick. First, there was the annual physical. Then it was off to the ‘now that you’re 50 let’s get a baseline since your father died of a heart attack’ CT scan. Next was the ‘it’s been awhile, so you need to have another colonoscopy’ consultation – to be followed soon by the actual procedure. In between was my yearly eye exam.

Results? My body is fine, my heart even better and my left eye actually improved. I’m confident the colonoscopy will show all’s clear on the southern front.

Of course, while visiting multiple medical facilities, I paid close attention to just how efficiently (or not) they operate.

My longest wait was one hour at my primary physician. I’m use to that having gone to him for the past 12 years: he has multiple offices and is only in our neighborhood one day a week, so it’s always crowded. He did spend more than an hour with me, which made the initial delay worthwhile. (The shortest wait was three minutes at the CT scanning location. Their systems are as efficient as In-N-Out Burger.)

Nurses have really difficult jobs, so I typically give them a break. There’s a lot of stress and people aren’t always polite. That said, three of them provided less-than-stellar follow-up service. I had to call my doctor’s nurse a couple of times to get test results. The eye doctor’s nurse ordered the wrong contacts, so I had to go back and exchange them. Twice I contacted the gastroenterologist and left messages, and despite the ‘she’ll call you back this afternoon’ promise… I’m still waiting.

My guess is doctors have no idea how their employees (read: health care providers) treat patients (read: customers). It’s in one waiting room and out the other for the highest educated and highest compensated person in those organizations. However, from an image standpoint, doctors would be wise to occasionally ask patients what they think of the service. Of course, it’s the same thing in your business, isn’t it? Have you done that lately?

BTW… I also went to the dentist last month. All is good – although don’t get me started on the sound of that electric cleaning utensil hygienists are using these days. Rrrrrrrrrrr

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